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Entries from October 2006

noce

Collioures (c) Kristin Espinasse
Along a festive pedestrian street in Collioures, France


la noce (nohs) noun, feminine

  1. wedding; wedding party

En automne, je récoltai toutes mes peines et les enterrai dans mon jardin. Lorsque avril refleurit et que la terre et le printemps célébrèrent leurs noces, mon jardin fut jonché de fleurs splendides et exceptionnelles.

In the autumn I gathered all my sorrows and buried them in my garden. And when April returned and spring came to wed the earth, there grew in my garden beautiful flowers unlike all other flowers.
--Khalil Gibran

                                                                        Column_2

(The following story was written one year ago)


A stone's throw from the Spanish border, in a department of southwest France exotically known as "les Pyrénées Orientales," Jean-Marc and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary, or "noces de corail".*

For this onzième* anniversary, Jean-Marc selected the old fishing port of Collioures for our week-end getaway. "Because it is a typical French village," he explained. To me, this "typical French village" felt oh-so-Spanish, making it the perfect choice for a dépaysement.*

The colorful town of Collioure is surrounded by hills of vines which protect it from le vent* and is known to gourmands* for its grenache-based wines and anchovy trade. To artists, Collioures is treasured for its exceptional Mediterranean light. Matisse found the charming port back in 1905, after which the town became a meeting point for les fauvists.* Since then, artists like Picasso, Dali and Braque, and not a few tourists, have flocked to this bijou* of a village by the glittering sea, along the Côte Vermeille or "Gilded Coast" in the South of France.

While Jean-Marc sampled spicy reds in a wine boutique, I discovered the pastel-toned village via its maze of medieval paths. Flowering vines tumbled from the tiny balcons* and the scent of fermenting grapes permeated the air as local cellars processed the recent harvest.

After a quick aller-retour* up one of the streets, I checked in on Jean-Marc back at the wine boutique to find him swirling red in a gigantic glass, an air-tight pack of sardines-in-oil on the counter in front of him. "For the apéro*..." he explained.

Given another pocket of time to play with, I ventured farther into the cramped town center, noting art galleries à gogo, shops bursting with temptations such as striped espadrilles in red, yellow, bordeaux, orange, and green and stylish wicker baskets hanging from beneath the canvas store awnings. Dozens of restaurants poured out of the ancient buildings and onto the cobblestone paths
via clusters of tables and chairs. Small chalkboards with curly French writing announced the plat du jour* and the spicy aromas coming from the kitchens wooed weary travelers to sit down and literally savor a bite of Catalonia.

I reunited with my husband in front of the immobilier's,* just around the corner from the wine boutique, where he was looking at photographs of properties for sale. "Five hectares of vines!" he said, as I walked up. I smiled in recognition of one Frenchman's passionate rêve.* For as long as I have known Jean-Marc, he has dreamed of having his very own, family run vineyard. It may take eleven more years for him to realize his dream. It will surely require the same perseverance and personal investment of a happy marriage to reach his goal. But if you ask me, he'll have his vines one day.

..................................................................................................................
*References: le mariage de corail (m) = coral wedding anniversary; onzième = eleventh; le dépaysement (m) = change of scenery; le vent (m) = wind; un gourmand, une gourmande = one who is fond of food; le fauvist (m) (from "les fauves" = wild beasts) = painter who follows fauvism; le bijou (m) = gem; le balcon (m) = balcony;  l'aller-retour (m) = round-trip; l'apéro (m) = appetizer; le plat du jour (m) = today's special; l'immobilier  (m) = realtor's office;  le rêve (m) = dream

French inspired homeThe French-Inspired Home, by Kaari Meng, includes 40 charming projects that capture the sights, scents, and textures of the French countryside.

Listen to French:
Hear Jean-Marc recite today's quote: En automne, je récoltai toutes mes peines et les enterrai dans mon jardin. Lorsque avril refleurit et que la terre et le printemps célébrèrent leurs noces, mon jardin fut jonché de fleurs splendides et exceptionnelles.

Expressions:
faire la noce = to live it up
le voyage de noces = honeymoon
les noces d'argent/d'or = silver/golden wedding anniversary
ne pas être à la noce: to not be happy to be somewhere (not be in the mood to party)

In books and gifts:
Basquekitchen_1The Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees

Wineopoly_1WINEOPOLY. Pop the cork off any gathering with WINEOPOLY! Players buy favorite wines, collect bunches of grapes and trade them in for decanters.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


énervé

Roquebrune
A peaceful scene in Roquebrune-sur-Argens.

Bigblue_1The Big Blue with Rosanna Arquette--one of Jean-Marc's favorite films (I liked it, too!)

énervé,e (ay-ner-vay) adjective
   irritated, annoyed; nervous, edgy

L'amour peut énerver l'âme, ou l'affermir.
Love can upset the soul, or strengthen it.
--Etienne de Senancour

                                                                                Column_2
"Machine-gunning" is how Jean-Marc refers to the way I take photos. Such drive-by photo-shooting works, I am finding, both in and out of the car and the physiological results are the same: relief from pent-up frustration is as instant as the click of the shutter button.

"Going out for a bit of photo mitraillage?"* my husband says, as I steam past him, uncomfortable under my own skin, ornery, argumentative, and all around sur les nerfs.* Humph! I don't like the sound of "photo mitraillage," but then I don't like the sound of birdsong at the moment either.

I stomp out to my car and throw myself into the driver's seat, quickly checking to see if anyone's noticed my dramatic exit; only the birds have, which makes karmic sense considering how I can't stand their song today.

Driving twenty minutes seaward, I stop in the village of Roquebrune-sur-Argens. With a digital camera and one gigabyte of memory, I've got 1000 shots at sanity. After only three warm-up clicks, the lens automatically shuts and I, with my still-frayed sack of nerves, look down at the screen and see the mocking message: "Change the battery pack."

BUT I AM OUT OF BATTERIES! Before my meltdown is complete and I fear I might combust, I look up to the French heavens for mercy. A few feathered foes fly by. This time their message is clear: on a bad day stop and listen to the music.

.......................................................................................................................
References: le mitraillage (m) = machine-gunning; (être) sur les nerfs = to be on edge

In Music:
BigbluesoundtrackA most relaxing soundtrack (from the favorite film, mentioned earlier)

Listen to French:
Hear Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download enerver.wav
L'amour peut énerver l'âme, ou l'affermir.

Related terms:
  énerver quelqu'un = to irritate somebody
  s'énerver = to get excited, worked up
  l'énervement (m) = irritation, annoyance

In Gifts:
  Gigiwallhooks
Gigi wall hooks with French terms
  Stonemortar            
Stone Mortar and Pestle -- a must for French pistou!
...
NepasderangerdoorknobhangerDo Not Disturb / Ne pas Déranger French Door Knob Hanger
 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


lumière

Fountain robinet (c) Kristin Espinasse
Flowers drinking in the lumière next to an unsolicited fountain.


Lumière


(loo-mee-air)

noun, feminine

light



The memory of that midsummer night is quickly fading and my mind's eye must squint for the scene to come into view again, fragmented and incomplete.

I can just see the subject in the foreground and how the light playing upon him, along with the quiet night, made for a breathtaking still life.

Just what shade of orange was it washing over the plateaus along the landscape of his back? Tangerine comes to mind.

I should have missed the color—sunburst orange?—what with the fine-lined paperback before me, stealing my vision.

It was the rustling leaves that beckoned, that had my eyes leaving the page to refocus on the chestnut tree outside and to the blue cypress hedge below before returning to the room, riding the night's breeze, to my husband slumbering beside me.

My mind watches now as the street light throws an orangey glow over the outspoken curves of his back. There, between darkness and lumière, I glimpse the drama of here and now.

I flip a page in the paperback... only to pause before the text: do the words that I am reading have as much mystery, beauty, or meaning?

I close my book and read the moment instead.
.

 

*   *   *
.

Terms & Expressions:
  la lumière douce = soft light
  à la lumière de la lune = by moonlight
  un torrent de lumière = a flood of light
  la lumière artificielle = artificial light
  la lumière du jour = daylight
  une année lumière = a light-year

And There Was Light tells the gripping, heroic story of the early life of Jacques Lusseyran, an inspiring individual who overcame the limitations of physical blindness by attending - literally - to the light within his own mind.

 

Ce n'est pas la lumière qui manque à notre regard, c'est notre regard qui manque de lumière. It is not the light which misses our gaze, it is our gaze which misses the light. --Gustave Thibon

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


four

Entufurnu
Entufurnu pizzeria & trattoria in Ceriana, Italy.

Laroussegastronomique_1Larousse Gastronomique. First published in 1938 and last revised in 1988, Larousse Gastronomique one of the culinary world's most familiar reference sources. --Library Journal


le four (for) noun, masculine
  oven; kiln; furnace

Un vieux four est plus aisé à chauffer qu'un neuf.
An old oven is easier to heat than a new one.

                                                                  --proverb
A Day in a French Life...
The Italian set down his container of raisins* opposite an antique grape press before turning to lift the heavy crate that linked my hand to my husband's.
"Thank you for your help," he said. "My name is Dario," he added, offering a free hand.

Dario the vigneron handed us a few dusty, unlabeled bottles of home brew before ushering us into the oven. (If this were a horror story, the setting would be fit: two foreigners lured (with the promise of lunch) into a dark cave, handed a few liters of wine for self-marinating, and asked to step into the oven--only to become lunch!)

As it was, Dario was inviting us to his home/trattoria* (so-named "Entufurnu," or "IntoTheOven," according to the hand-painted panneau* above his village door). I parted the colorful beaded curtains and entered a narrow dining room just a poil* bigger than the long wooden table in its center. On the right, where a coat rack might have hung, was a painting of a naked woman, just like in the three other cafe/bars we'd frequented in the past 24 hours.

Once upon a time, Dario explained, and in the place of the current kitchen, there was an enormous oven for baking pizza. While Dario showed us to our seats, Esmeralda, the woman in the cherry red scarf, came out of the oven to greet us, her wide-toothed smile as heavenly as the scents wafting in from the kitchen behind her. "Sit down," she said, her Spanish accent but a hint of her Honduran origins. Soon the tabletop teemed with casseroles, carafes and conversation as we shared spaghetti alla napoletana,* entrecôte,* local cheese, homebrewed wine and Dario's signature grappa.

And, just like that, we spent the afternoon warming up to complete strangers in the Ligurian town of Ceriana, only to quit that big old oven uncooked, uncorked, and uncommonly catered to in a little village along the northern coast of Italy, high up in the quiet hinterland affectionately known as the Riviera of Flowers.

.......................................................................................................
References: le raisin (m) = grape; trattoria (from the French "traiteur") = a small Italian restaurant; le panneau (m) = sign; le poil (m) = hair; spaghetti alla napoletana = spaghetti with tomato sauce; une entrecôte (f) = (literally "between the ribs") steak

RosettaLearn to speak French with Rosetta Stone French. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers and millions of students worldwide.

Related words & expressions:
  le four à pain = baker's oven
  le four micro-ondes = microwave oven
  cuire au four = to cook/roast/bake in the oven
  un petit four = a type of small pastry
  les petits fours salés = savory appetizers

French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's proverb: Download four.wav
Un vieux four est plus aisé à chauffer qu'un neuf.


Books & Gifts:
CucinaebraicaCucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen
   
FallingpalaceFalling Palace: A Romance of Naples

Dora in France DollFrance_dora Moneybelt

Rick Steeve's Money Belt

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


cachot

Piazza
Back at the Piazza Rubini in Ceriana, Italy. Not far from the would-be cachot...

Cuisine_2Printed in French, Cuisine Et Vins De France features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more.

le cachot (ka-sho) noun, masculine
  dungeon, prison cell; solitary confinement

J'aimerais mieux être un crapaud et vivre des vapeurs d'un cachot que de laisser un coin de l'être que j'aime à l'usage d'autrui.

I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner of the thing I love for others' uses.
--William Shakespeare (from Othello)

A Day in a French Life...
(The Italy narrative continues...)

Jean-Marc and I rendezvoused with the Italian vigneron* back at the quiet Piazza Rubini. The square was now empty but for a few gluttonous pigeons cleaning up after the Farmers' Market. Across the square, we spotted the vigneron unloading the bright red crates of vermentino grapes. His face was flushed and beads of sweat ran from his salt-and-pepper crown down to his soaked collar.

It took two of us, both Jean-Marc and me, to lift a single crate from the back of the truck. We balanced the plump grapes between us before catching up to the vigneron who entered what looked to be a tunnel but was actually another one of those dark alleyways that run high and low, criss-crossing the medieval village of Ceriana. At the mouth of the passage, we fell into the rock wall, allowing another triporteur* to whiz past (while amazed to see the three-wheeled truck in action navigating the narrow brick and cobbled paths). The little municipal truck had a broom and poubelle* in the back--enough equipment to compete with the plump pigeons for leftover scraps along the checkered floor of the square.

"Watch your step!" the vigneron cautioned as we followed him into a tiny cave,* which was damp and dark as an underground cachot*...

(At this point in my story Jean-Marc interrupts to argue about the use of the word "cachot" (or "dungeon") only to agree that the vigneron's cave, with its river of wine, would color the cheeks and soul of the weariest prisoner.)

                                          *   *   *
For past chapters in this story, visit:

Italy, Introduction :: Part One :: Part Two :: Part Three :: Next: Lunch with strangers

.........................................................................................................
References: le vigneron (la vigneronne) = vine-grower, vintner; le triporteur (m) = three-wheel vehicle that "ports," or carries, things/people; la poubelle (f) = trash or garbage can; la cave (f) = cellar; le cachot (m) = dungeon

French Pronunciation:
Hear Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download cachot.wav
J'aimerais mieux être un crapaud et vivre des vapeurs d'un cachot que de laisser un coin de l'être que j'aime à l'usage d'autrui.

Related words:
la cachotterie (f) = mystery
cachottier, cachottière (adj) = secretive

.....................................................................................
In books:
ItaliansketchbookMy Italian Sketchbook

ExtravirginExtra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted
Tastesofitalia_1Tastes of Italia. Every issue of Tastes of Italia includes recipes from all parts of Italy along with articles on Italian culture, culinary history, wine, and travel.

France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


amitié

Le Vieux Port de Marseille - The Old Port in Marseilles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The Old Port in Marseilles, France

BouchonBouchon by Thomas Keller
"It may be the best cookbook ever about bistros and bistro food."
--The New York Times

amitié (a-mee-tyay) noun, feminine
  1. friendship  2. amitiés = best wishes/regards

L'amitié se nourrit de communication.
Friendship is nourished by communication.
--Montaigne

A Day in a French Life...
Autumn 1994. Six months pregnant, I dug through our three drawer commode* to find something suitable, hopefully attractive, to wear. I was returning to the Chamber of Commerce in Marseilles, where I had taught English a few years earlier, to meet with a former supervisor for lunch. "There will be another American joining us," she had said, in her charming écossais* accent, before hanging up the phone.

At a café at the Castellane metro stop I sat facing my ex-supervisor, the American sat beside me. "Is this place OK?" the écossaise asked. "Have you ever been to Tarte Julie, just down the street?" the American replied. We hadn't, but before we could change our minds the middle-aged waiter with the black ponytail said, "Qu'est-ce que vous désirez?"* I became concerned that there were no vegetarian items on the menu--concerned for my new friend. "I'll have a salad au chèvre chaud,"* the American said, unconcerned. How I knew she was végétarienne is a mystery. Perhaps it was the Tarte Julie comment. Back then, in my mind only French people and vegetarians ate quiche.

*Back then* I was giving Marseilles another try. You might say France (and a certain Frenchman) was giving me a second chance. Several factors, including my failure to seek and nurture friendships, led to my being expelled* one year earlier. Believing my French was not up to par, I did not pursue friendships with the Francophones and the expats I had encountered were wary of making friends with the newly arrived--we newbies were a gamble--why take a chance on befriending a newcomer who might call France quits after the charm wore off? Those expats who were now well-adjusted and getting by just fine on their own didn't seem to need us needies--or at least didn't want to risk losing us once a friendship was established. As if to prove their theory, I lasted ten months before heading back to the Arizona desert, to my cactus-prickly but warm and predictable security blanket.

I did eventually make it back to France and there I was at a café with the écossaise and the American from California who liked antiques, art, theater, books and adventure. I learned she'd moved to Paris a dozen years ago after marrying a Frenchman. I guess she didn't care about my track record, didn't find me a high-risk friend about to catch the next plane home when her rose-tinted glasses cracked. When lunch ended, she invited me to visit her in the country. A week later, I nervously fastened my seatbelt after Jean-Marc gave me a few tips on how to get to the northern village from Marseilles. I was scared to drive in France. Friendship gave me courage.

Chez Corey I discovered a warm and friendly Franco-American home decorated with French antiques. Her English-speaking children bounded up and down the spiral staircase, leaving giggles in their wake. As we sat chatting over jasmine tea, opera music filled in any conversational gaps while spicy aromas wafted in from the kitchen to the salon, redirecting our talk from books to food.

I returned to Corey's as often as possible to laugh and to learn to make my first quiche--you didn't have to be vegetarian or French to eat them after all. Corey gave me her son's crib for my soon-to-be born Franco-American and she threw in a bunch of baby clothes, baby instruction books and nursing paraphernalia, reminding me to ring if I needed anything at all. She was there when my son was born, attended his baptism and was ecstatic to welcome my baby girl into the world two years after Max was born. "I can give her all my daughter's baby clothes!" she enthused, after sneaking past the nurses' station to my hospital room, her arms toting sacks of real food, a Corona beer thrown in for good measure.

A year after Jackie was born, we moved. The distance meant that I saw Corey less and less. On Sunday I had the chance to visit my friend again. Around a grand table dressed in thick linen with vibrant fall leaves decorating the top we shared another meal sans viande* and caught up on the passing years. When our stomachs were as full as our hearts, Max, Jackie, Jean-Marc and I bid Corey and her family farewell, until next time.

Driving back to my village, the conversation with my friend continued in my head; words that I had not said were finally spoken. "You see, chère amie,* I am still here in France, after all these years! Thank you for believing I would eventually settle, even before I believed it. Thank you for your offer of amitié,* and for taking a chance on me, the newcomer to France."

.....................................................................................................................
*References: une commode (f) = chest of drawers; écossais(e) = Scottish (accent); Qu'est-ce que vous désirez? = What would you like? (to eat); au chèvre chaud = with goat cheese; dismissed = In 1993 I was told to leave France--for the full story please read the intro to my book; sans-viande = without meat; chère amie = dear friend; amitié (f) = friendship

In books:
Charlesfaudree's country french livingCharles Faudree's Country French Living. Famed for his Parisian buying trips, where he negotiates with flea market vendors using a pen and paper, Faudree confides "a signature piece doesn't have to be expensive. You can get the look without the seventeenth-century armoire. --Publishers Weekly.

Bestfootforwardsusiekelly Best Foot Forward from the publisher: Why would an unfit, fifty-something Englishwoman embark on a solo walk across France from La Rochelle on the west coast to Lake Geneva over the Swiss border? Best Foot Forward is a hilarious and heart-warming tale of English eccentricity, the American pioneering spirit, and two women old enough to know better.
ScentedpalaceA Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer is a wonderful window into the world of France during its most brutal and violent days.


French Pronunciation:
Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the word "amitié": Download amitie.wav

French terms and Idiomatic expressions:
par amitié = out of friendship
mes amitiés à votre soeur (mère, fils, mari...) = my best regards to your sister (son, mother, husband...)
sincères amitiés de... = best wishes from...
une étroite amitié = a close friendship
nouer une amitié avec quelqu'un = to "knot" (or secure) a friendship with someone
concevoir de l'amitié pour quelqu'un = to take a liking to someone
se lier d'amitié pour quelqu'un = to make friends with someone
faire mille amitiés à quelqu'un = to give someone a warm and inviting welcome

In magazines:
Chatelaine Chatelaine Magazine in English ... or in French!

Chatelaine features articles on practical home advice, health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes.

France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


triporteur (Italy, part 3)

Triporteur
For sweeping through the serpentine alleyways in Ceriana, Italy.

TrampabroadDiscover Mark Twain's classic "A Tramp Abroad"
"...delicious, whether you open it at the sojourn in Heidelberg, or the voyage down the Neckar on a raft, or mountaineering in Switzerland, or the excursion beyond the Alps into Italy.” —William Dean Howells
....................................................
le triporteur
(tree-por-ter) noun, masculine
  1. delivery tricycle
  2. three-wheel truck, mobility scooter
  3. tricyclist

Granlux était un personnage dégingandé qui essayait de livrer toutes sortes d'objets avec son triporteur. Granlux was a lanky character who tried to deliver all sorts of objects with his tricycle. --from "Les annees pilote" by P. Gaumer

A Day in a French Life...
Hunger follows us out of the echoing Piazza, along the red brick path, past a marching band and right into a camion* full of sweet Vermentino grapes. The quirky truck--one of those narrow, three-wheeled triporteurs*--is stalled behind the religious procession on the Corso Italia, the main drag in the town of Ceriana. Behind the tiny green truck with its stacked red crates, I see a blue figure: that is, a woman in a bright blue sweat-suit, her hair tucked under a cherry-red scarf revealing a lovely truffle-brown complexion. I take up my camera.

Through the viewfinder, I notice a man approaching. When he reaches out to offer a cluster of green grapes, I lower the lens and thank him. The woman in the cherry scarf nods, encouraging me to eat the fruit.

Jean-Marc talks shop with the vigneron* and learns that he and the woman run a pizzeria in town. "But we are closed today," the man apologizes, indicating the crates of harvested grapes in the truck bed.

We try to conceal our hound-dog expressions, but the idea of eating "chez le vigneron" is just too much. "Never mind," the vigneron decides, turning to the woman with the scarf. "My wife and I have to eat anyway and you are welcome to join us at our table."

I nervously study the face of the woman who has been slumped over vines, grape picking since dawn, and who has just learned that she will now be cooking for two lazy wanderlusts. Her dark shining eyes and inviting smile reveal only warmth. Some say that the joy is in the giving. In return, I wish this woman bliss.
                                              *     *     *
For past chapters in this story, visit:
Italy, Introduction :: Part One :: Part Two :: Part Three :: Part Four

..........................................................................................................
References: le camion (m) = truck; le triporteur (m) = three-wheel truck; le vigneron (la vigneronne) = winegrower, vintner

ThousanddaysveniceA Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi. Featuring Marlena’s own incredible recipes, A Thousand Days in Venice is the enchanting true story of a woman who opens her heart—and falls in love with both a man and a city.
                           
France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A.

..............................
French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's example sentence: Download triporteur.wav
Granlux était un personnage dégingandé qui essayait de livrer toutes sortes
d'objets avec son triporteur.

More books & magazines:
AmuseboucheAmuse-Bouche: Little Bites That Delight Before the Meal Begins:

Cuisine_1Cuisine Et Vins De France (printed in French) features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


souris (Italy, part 2)

Cat
An Italian cat eyeing a desert souris rat

Little_house"Little House: An Architectural Seduction" -- is a forgotten masterpiece of 18th-century literature that has become an underground classic among architects.


la souris (soo-ree) noun, feminine
  1. mouse

Jamais la souris ne confie sa destinée à un seul trou.
A mouse never entrusts its destiny to just one hole.
--Plautus

A Day in a French Life...
Feeling small as a mouse before the towering cathedral in la Piazza Rubini, I listen to the Italians call up and down from their tiny balcons* and wonder if the town of Ceriana has anything in common with the word "serenade." After all, this is just what the Ligurians are engaged in as the cloche* in the belfry strikes twelve--only it isn't a moonlit midnight, it's midi,* and the villagers aren't singing about love, but lunch.

Jean-Marc and I are in Ceriana, on the Riviera of Flowers,* for both lunch and love. Love, because a mystic Roman village hidden in Italy's emerald-green hinterland makes for an enchanting place to celebrate twelve years of living in common, and lunch because, tout simplement,* where love is, hunger follows.

                                              *     *     *
For past chapters in this story, visit:

Italy, Introduction :: Part One :: Part Two :: Part Three :: Part Four

..........................................................................................................
References: le balcon (m) = balcony; la cloche (f) = bell; le midi (m) = midday, noon; Riviera of Flowers (in Italian: "Riviera dei Fiori," so-named for the flower industry in this part of Italy); tout simplement = quite simply

In Magazines:

Cuisine_2Printed in French, Cuisine Et Vins De France features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more.
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download souris2.wav
(Note: the file skips... play it twice to hear all the complete sentence.)
Jamais la souris ne confie sa destinée à un seul trou.
A mouse never entrusts its destiny to just one hole. --Plautus

Related Terms & Expressions:
la souris grise = house mouse
La Petite Souris = the tooth fairy (In France, a mouse, not a fairy, is in charge of payment.)

...and while some of us would like to be "a fly on the wall," the French would prefer "to be a little mouse" in order to spy! (From the expression "être une petite souris".)

RosettaLearn to speak French with Rosetta Stone French. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers and millions of students worldwide.

In Books:
Eat_pray_loveEat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Italy_gourmet_travelerItaly for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin

MoleskinMoleskine 2007 Daily Large Desk Diary - The Legendary Notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, and Chatwin.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


gouttière

la gouttière / drainpipe (c) Kristin Espinasse
For draining the tears of the Ligurian heavens. Une gouttière in Ceriana, Italy.

Stray (or "alley") cats in France are called "gutter cats" or "les chats de gouttière." Read the story of one here:

Max_griggstown_mysteryMax: A Griggstown Mystery / Un Mystere de Griggstown In English and in French. A long missing tabby cat tells the story of his disappearance, mishaps, and adventures along the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Strange encounters with other creatures, great and small, teach Max things about himself, and how to leave the past behind.

la gouttière (goot-yehr) noun, feminine
   gutter; drainpipe

Don't miss the story of a wayward French gouttière, a few thirsty begonias, some tart neighbors and the sweet lemon madeleines that bring a few would-be enemies together. Read Words in a French Life (where you will also find the raison d'être behind this blog ... and this burgeoning French life).

Related Terms and Expressions:
goutter = to drip
une gouttelette = a tiny drop, droplet, globule
la goutte de rosée = dewdrop
tomber goutte à goutte
= to drip
pleuvoir à grosses gouttes = to rain heavily
boire la goutte = to have a nip
les gouttes pour le nez = nasal drops
la goutte de sueur = bead of sweat
avoir la goutte aux nez = to have a runny nose
ne...goutte = not at all  Ex. n'y voir goutte = to not see anything
...and the next time you are in a French café, you might ask for "une goutte de lait" or "a drop of milk" in your coffee. (In which case you wouldn't be ordering a big café-au-lait, but a smaller "noisette"--une noisette at that.)

In Magazines:
France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A.

Cuisine Et Vins De France (printed in French) features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more.

A popular song to highlight today's word:

              :: L'Araignée Gipsy :: 

L'araignée Gipsy  -- Gipsy the spider
Monte à la gouttière -- Climbs up the rain gutter
Tiens voilà la pluie! -- Here comes the rain!
Gipsy tombe par terre --Gipsy falls to the ground
Mais le soleil a séché la pluie --But the sun has dried the rain
L'araignée Gipsy --Gipsy the spider
Monte à la gouttière...  -- Climbs up the water spout

Hear Jackie sing the song (replay it for the unbroken version!): Download araignee_song.wav

(The author to the song "Araignée Gipsy" is unknown)

English version:
The itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again


More in Books & Magazines:Cat_who_walked_across_france
The Cat Who Walked Across France After his owner dies, a cat wanders across the countryside of France, unable to forget the home he had in the stone house by the edge of the sea. An unforgettable tour of France.

Harraps_french_english_college_dictionar

Harrap's French and English College Dictionary includes:

  • Comprehensive French and English grammars linked to the dictionary text
  • A wealth of technical language, Internet terms, slang, and colloquial usage
  • Hundreds of tinted usage notes to help avoid translation pitfalls
  • A four-color illustrated supplement covering 400 essential French and English idioms

    Chatelaine Chatelaine Magazine in English ... or in French!

    Chatelaine features articles on practical home advice, health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes.

  • Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
    ♥ Send $10    
      ♥ Send $25    
        ♥ Send the amount of your choice


    "Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
    --Lisa


    la marche (Italy, part 1)

    Stone_cabanon
    On the way to Ceriana, Italy...

    la marche (marsh) noun, feminine
      1. step, stair 2. walk, walking

    Qui peut jamais être seul un instant en Italie ? Chaque pierre a une voix, chaque grain de poussière semble être l'instinct d'un esprit du Passé, chaque marche rappelle quelque ligne, quelque légende d'une tradition depuis longtemps à l'abandon.

    Who can ever be alone for a moment in Italy? Every stone has a voice, every grain of dust seems instinct with spirit from the Past, every step recalls some line, some legend of long-neglected lore. -
    -Margaret Fuller

    Desiring_italy_1Desiring Italy: Women Writers Celebrate the Passions of a Country and Culture.



    A Day in a French Life...
    The lush hills leading back to the Italian Riviera's hinterland are covered with fruit-bearing vines just begging to be handled.
    "Somebody better pick those grapes," Jean-Marc says, pulling the car to the side of the cliff-like road to snap a photo.
    "Before they turn into raisins!" I add. When my husband doesn't respond, I realize that he probably didn't even hear me, so enamored is he by the steeply terraced landscape which represents the vineyard of his dreams. Rustic homes and stone cabanos are sprinkled across the hillside with terraces of their own, in terre cuite* and iron, covered with bright red bougainvillea, periwinkle-blue liseron* and other colorful and climbing flowers.

    When we are halfway between the sea and the mountains, we reach the medieval town of Ceriana where darkly painted shutters, some open, some closed, some undecided (with one or two quarters of the shutter propped open, as only Italian shutters can) add drama to the pastel facades. Jean-Marc and I follow the marches* up the moss-covered brick walkways which are flanked by cobbled stone and book-ended by ancient walls rising to the Ligurian heavens. Dark walkways loop through the concentric village and at times we are guided by music or by the bell tower, its insistent ringing calling us out of the cave-like recesses until we surface at the Piazza Rubini.

    There, in the sunlit square, a faded trompe-l'oeil* overlooks the church before which a bustling outdoor market is underway (all of three stands selling anything from cleaning products to sausage). Next to the massive church, where the village homes continue to cling together like so many sardines in a tin, a young girl calls up to a balcony until a white haired woman in a floral housecoat appears from behind a beaded door curtain. I look up to find more villagers talking to one another from their tiny balcons*. The smell of caramelizing onions wakes my hunger and I imagine the Italians are about to sit down to lunch.

    The scene begins to infuse my pores until, beneath my skin, in the deepest fibers of a wandering soul, I feel the urge to transcend one of those homey beaded curtains to find myself basking in the warmth of an Italian cucina,* about to break bread with someone whose native tongue knows more singsong than diphthong. As you can imagine, this is just what happens next...

                                                  *     *     *
    For past chapters in this story, visit:
    Italy, Introduction
    Part One
    Part Two
    Part Three
    Part Four

    .........................................................................................................
    References: la terre cuite (f) = terracotta; le liseron (m) = bindweed; la marche (f) = stair; le trompe-l'oeil (m) = a style of painting that "fools the eye"; le balcon (m) = balcony; la cucina (f) = kitchen (in Italian)

    French Pronunciation:
    Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download marche.wav
    Qui peut jamais être seul un instant en Italie ? Chaque pierre a une voix, chaque grain de poussière semble être l'instinct d'un esprit du Passé, chaque marche rappelle quelque ligne, quelque légende d'une tradition depuis longtemps à l'abandon.

    French Expressions:
    faire une marche = to take a walk
    mettre en marche = to start
    la marche arrière = reverse (automobile)
    faire marche arrière = to back up
    la marche nuptiale = wedding march
    En avant, marche! Forward, march!

    More books:
    The_mediterranean_vegan_kitchenIn "The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen" Donna Klein provides more than 300 recipes suited to anyone who wants to eat a healthful diet free of animal products.

    One_hundred_and_one_beautiful_towns_italOne Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns of Italy

    Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
    ♥ Send $10    
      ♥ Send $25    
        ♥ Send the amount of your choice


    "Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
    --Lisa